The idea for the LLLI Alumnae Association and newsletter was hatched during a Texas conference. Then LLL of Texas Area Coordinator of Leaders, Ellen King (Goodrich) discussed the idea for an Alumnae group at the July 5-6, 1986 LLL of Texas Area Conference in Austin. After the conference Marian Tompson spoke with the LLLI Board of Directors, which on October 2, 1986 voted to establish a sub-committee to form an Alumnae Association. Ellen was selected as the chair of the sub-committee under direction of Judy Good. Later that month, Ellen wrote to Kathy Lyons to outline her work in creating the sub-committee, reaching out to Helen Daniels, Damaris Hurley, and others. The subcommittee created a framework for the new organization, including drafting a purpose statement and detailing procedures for membership. A newsletter was proposed and the Alumnae Association was up and running!
The initial newsletter for the organization, titled Alumnae News, ran for ten years, from January 1988 until December 1998. Editors and co-Editors during this period were: Sue Christiansen; Sandy Erickson; Sue Forrister; Ellen Goodrich King; Ruth Molar; and Beverly Morgan. In 1999, the publication name was changed to Continuum, in recognition of the popular book by Jean Leadloff, The Continuum Concept. Sue Christiansen served as Continuum Editor for seven years. In 2007, Fran Dereszynski took over as Editor, a role in which she served for eleven years, through 2018! In 2019 Continuum moved to an online publication, with Sue Ann Kendall as Editor. Many archived issues of newsletters can be found on our Continuum page.
In 1992, the Alumnae Association offered its first group travel opportunity, a hiking trip down the Havasupai Trail into the Grand Canyon. For many years, the organization sponsored trips every other year to destinations across the United States. Trips included sightseeing, activities, meals, and plenty of opportunities to reminisce about LLL memories. Summaries and photos from several of the Alumnae/Friends’ trips can be found on our Trip Memories page.
Starting in 2001, the Alumnae Association has sponsored the We Remember program, honoring deceased LLL Leaders and key supporters. The names of deceased Leaders are recorded in calligraphy in a We Remember album and included on our website listing. From 2001 to 2007, the Alumnae Association held a We Remember ceremony at an Alumnae Tea at each LLL International Conference. Beginning in 2011, the ceremonies were held on Alumnae Association trips. The highlight of each We Remember ceremony is the reading of all names of deceased Leaders recorded in the We Remember album since the previous ceremony.
In 2018, the Alumnae Association underwent a process to reconsider its mission and outreach. From this effort, the organization was rebranded with the new name of Friends of La Leche League. New by-laws were drafted and ratified on August 10, 2018. The organization established a new logo and look and a new website was rolled out in the summer of 2020.
Friends of La Leche League is proud of its history, the many people who have participated in the organization over the years, and we look forward to many more years of great memories.